Film role wins Khabonina Qubeka best actress award at American film festival

South African film Dora’s Peace has won two awards at the prestigious 15th Boston International Film Festival in the US‚ including best actress for dancer‚ singer and actress Khabonina Qubeka.

Director Kosta Kalarytis bagged the Indie Spirit Special Recognition Award at the festival.

Khabonina Qubeka

The film tells the story of a woman who sets out to save a gifted young boy from the violent clutches of organised crime. In the process‚ she is forced to rediscover aspects of her own lost humanity.

The film was shot on location in Johannesburg‚ and was released in cinemas in August last year.

Qubeka portrays a Hillbrow prostitute who has to fend for herself – and an orphaned child who is being targeted by a gang.

“Dora is emotionally complex‚” Kalarytis said in a statement commending his lead actress. “Qubeka broke the mould of the typical aging prostitute so often seen in films. She’s not anyone’s sidekick‚ and her character is memorable‚ authentic and deeply human. She reflects the reality lived by many women‚ in South African and elsewhere around the world. We are thrilled that her performance and the film itself have been singled out for the jury in Boston. It’s a great honour.”

Producer Dumi Gumbi of The Ergo Company added: “Dora has a complexity that female characters are rarely afforded. This tale of self-discovery and‚ ultimately‚ self-respect‚ is hopeful and inspiring. It’s a remarkable portrayal and proves that everybody’s experiences deserve representation.”

On its release in South Africa‚ critics hailed both Qubeka and Kalarytis for his debut as a director. The Sowetan called the film “a much-needed departure from all the glossy rom-coms and launches us into an exhilarating path of crime drama”‚ describing it as fast-paced‚ with “a heart-palpitating action sequence central to the screenplay that will leave you begging for more just in the first 15 minutes”.

“Khabonina Qubeka is an actress to watch and we congratulate her and Kosta Kalarytis for their well-deserved wins‚” said Helen Kuun‚ CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution‚ which distributed the film in South Africa. “Local audiences can look forward to seeing her later this year in Gersh Kgamedi’s She Is King.”

Dora’s Peace is currently available on DVD in South Africa.